How Transparency in Payroll Software Enables Hiring for Small Businesses: Q&A With Zenefits


Cost per hire, time to fill, and quality of hire are all critically important to informing the hiring and compensation strategy for startups and SMBsand a good payroll system will help you (to) quicklyextract what you need so you can turn data into insights

Tracy Cote, Chief People Officer of Zenefits, a SaaS cloud-based human resources platform, talks about how small businesses and startups can effectively navigate the post COVID-19 workplace with the help of a real time payroll benchmarking platform. She discusses how payroll platformsOpens a new window can offer transparency and benchmark data to decide whether hiring or replacing an employee is damaging small businesses or not.

In this edition of HR Talk, Tracy focuses on guiding SMBs to get the most out of their human capital managementOpens a new window tools and be in sync with the organizations talent acquisition strategyOpens a new window . She highlights top payroll and benefits initiatives and hiring practices that SMBs can implement for better employee experience.

Key insights on how transparency in payroll software enables hiring:

  • Top tips for HR managers to effectively navigate employee management areas
  • Best practices for HR managers on hiring candidates based on compensation insights
  • Key trends to follow in talent managementOpens a new window space in 2020 and beyond

Heres the edited transcript from our exclusive interview with Tracy Cote:

1. How is HR technology transforming SMBs and helping them to deliver seamless benefits experience? Which payroll and benefits initiatives SMBs must implement for better employee experience?

Great HR technology helps transform SMBs by saving them time and energy so they can focus on their people. Talent management is a huge part of the success of any company, and maintaining talent is one of the ways to help small businesses by providing state of the art tools that in the past, were only available to larger businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a seismic shift in how people view, treat, and look at small businesses.

One of the top priorities at Zenefits, to quote our CEO Jay Fulcher, is to level the playing field for small businesses, the other 99.7%. Making up most of all-American businesses, SMBs are the lifeblood of our country, and our mission is clear.

From a payroll standpoint, we are seeing an uptick in interest from employers seeking to access tax credits, paid sick leave forms, and resources explaining all the current legislation, to help both their leaders as well as their employees. SMBs must remember that education, flexibility and transparency are critical at this time, and they are also the ways to deliver seamless payroll, benefits and remote time and attendance functionality, especially since things during the pandemic have changed and moved so quickly.

Learn More: 15 Tips to Hire Talent Post the Coronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicOpens a new window

2. How can startups and SMBs get the most out of their human capital management tools without burning a hole in the company budget and be in sync with the organizations talent acquisition strategy?

Startups and small businesses can get the most out of their HCM tools by accessing the tools and resources their provider shares with them. WORKEST is a great resource, sourced from our own team, which includes HR tips and tricks as well as original up-to-date editorial articles that cover the latest news from the SBA guidelines, and it is available to everyone (not just our customers).

The best ways for a company to benefit and be in sync with their organizations talent strategy is to learn from others around them. People can be valuable resources and sharing information from fellow small business employees and owners is one way for the community to align and learn from each other. Additionally, because the gig economy is on the rise, investing in a tool that offers flexibility, knowledge, and support for what is needed to work with various types of employees will help small businesses succeed.

For example, Entire Productions, a San Francisco based entertainment business, built their company leveraging the Zenefits platform, which enabled them to effectively manage compliance as they onboarded many freelancers.

Learn More: Paychex Launches Industrys First Real-Time Payments SolutionOpens a new window

3. Which are the top 3 hiring and recruitment metrics that play a significant role in designing the compensation strategy for startups and SMBs? How can payroll platforms offer transparency and benchmark data that will help SMBs decide whether hiring or replacing an employee is damaging their small business or not?

Cost per hire, time to fill, and quality of hire are all critically important to informing the hiring and compensation strategy for startups and SMBs. Understanding how much you are spending for each hire, accurately anticipating how long it will take to fill an open role, and checking your track record on quality of hire (which can be ascertained from a combination of factors including tenure, performance reviews, peer recognition, and more) all contribute to the overall talent strategy and will help you decide whether you should offer a sign on bonus, pay above or below market, or hire for aptitude versus skill.

A significant amount of thought and data goes into these metrics, and a good payroll system will help you quickly and easily extract what you need so you can turn data into insights which will inform both your strategy and your actions.

Benchmarking data is invaluable in determining the compensation strategy, because paying according to the market rate can be a smart idea for every business. Small businesses do not always have the tools to help them access the information and those metrics are important in managing talent. One of the nice things about payroll platforms is that, they have a benchmarking tool built in, so you can receive up to date benchmarked data at your fingertips. Additionally, it is helpful for small businesses to have an advisor they can turn to when needed for advice; we also have an HR Advisor team, so our customers can call and get real time advice from experts as needed.

4. In your opinion, can providing salary insights only help companies manage their people costs and change their hiring practices in a post Coronavirus world? What are the other best practices that HR managers can follow as well?

Having up-to-date salary benchmarking data is important, as it allows companies the ability to review employee compensation on an as needed basis. One of the top reasons people decide to switch companies is because they do not have opportunities for professional growth, and hand in hand with that, they usually feel like they are not well compensated. In my career throughout HR, I have noticed that people are usually inherently motivated to work, but they must feel their values align with the company. One critical way for a company to show they care about their people is to compensate them as fairly as possible.

We offer a compensation management tool for our customers, to help SMBs improve hiring and compensation practices and make sure they are paying in alignment with others who have similar experience and are in the same industry and region. Because the tool is updated regularly, the data is always up to date and not lagging 6 months behind like many of the bigger surveys. Unfortunately, there are times when companies might not be able to pay as competitively as they would like. Being aware of this potential setback will encourage small employers to explore the possibility in offering benefits not linked to monetary needs and may include a variety of subsidized or unsubsidized perks such as pet insurance, chair massage, prepaid legal advice, telemedicine, and, flexibility, which doesnt cost anything.

Learn More: 4 Simple Steps for Creating an Effective Employee Benefits ProgramOpens a new window

5. Can you give us a sneak-peek into the upcoming strategies on employee management that startups and SMBs must embrace today?

In an instant, COVID-19 changed our lives and the way we work, live, and behave. It is critical for companies to lead with compassion, and I am proud to work for a CEO who understands this, both for our employees and for our customers. Effective communication is key as everyone shifts to the new normal of remote work, social distancing, and a barrage of frequently conflicting news.

Currently, teams feel a need to over-communicate with the shift to remote work. In short order, we will see companies realizing that its not just about more communication, its about smarter communication. There will be an uptick in the use of collaboration tools, asynchronous communication, and cloud-based mobile enabled technology and just about everything will be critical to the success of businesses of all shapes and sizes. Additionally, managing in the new world requires a different set of skills, and HR managers and small business owners everywhere will be tasked with rapidly assessing whether or not their existing talent can make the shift longer term, with or without assistance.

Learn More: Can Sharing Salary Information Lead to Pay Equity?Opens a new window

6. Whats trending in the talent management space for 2020 and post COVID-19?

The talent management space for 2020 and the return to work post-COVID-19 will see a more permanent shift towards remote work. Companies that have successfully transitioned their employees to working remotely will see a slower return to the office as adjustments are made for health and safety, and as more of their employees seek the flexibility of working from home either on a full or part time basis.

There will also be an increase in integrations with health service applications for a variety of reasons, from wellness initiatives to doctors releases. I also think there will be an increased regular cadence of virtual meetups as everyone adjusts to this new normal of interacting virtually with their teams, and it is a great equalizer for multi-location companies.

Our leaders have also developed a new practice of conducting regular office hours with an open meeting room where employees can drop in to ask questions, talk, or just virtually hang out. Overall, the biggest trend in this space will be the rise in virtual interactions as people will begin to realize how much they want to continue the conversations online simply because they can.

About Tracy CoteOpens a new window

Tracy brings 20 years of HR experience to Zenefits. She oversees the people experience programs including employee engagement, compensation, benefits, learning and development, employee relations, talent acquisition, and employment branding. Most recently, she held the position of Chief People Officer at Genesys. She also led HR teams at MobiTV, Inc., and Organic Inc. Tracy also taught human resources management at San Francisco State University for over 10 years.

About ZenefitsOpens a new window

Zenefits is a SaaS cloud-based human resources platform that helps more than 11,000 small and mid-sized companies empower their workforce, manage change, and stay compliant. Zenefits’ People Platform delivers the most comprehensive, intuitive HR experience in the market. Its HR, Benefits, Payroll and Performance apps combine with advisory services and tightly integrated partner apps to radically simplify HR administration, reducing paperwork and complexity so companies can focus on starting, running, and growing their businesses.

About HR Talk

HR Talk is an interview series that features top people and talent leaders from HR tech and Fortune 500 companies who are redefining the future of work. Join us as we talk to these HR tech and people analytics experts to get in-depth insights, and some pro-tips on how HR tech can best work for you and your people.

Found this interview interesting? Tell us in the comments below your views on the future of payroll software and hiring for small businesses.